The 8 Best Canned Salmon of 2023

Wild Planet's Skinless & Boneless Wild Sockeye Salmon is our Best Overall

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Best Canned Salmon

The Spruce Eats / Amelia Manley

The Spruce Eats Top Picks

if you're casting a line to try and find the best-canned salmon out there, hook the Wild Planet Wild Sockeye Salmon, Skinless & Boneless for a sustainable and flavorful fish. For a cheaper but still good-quality option, go for the Bumble Bee Canned Pink Salmon.

The rule of thumb when shopping for seafood is fresh is best. But there's a time and place for canned fish, too. Canned seafood is an affordable, shelf-stable option for a quick meal when time or budget doesn't allow for cooking with fresh ingredients.

Canned salmon is available in several varieties and it's easy to use to create a variety of meals. You can mix it with mayo for an alternative to tuna salad for easy lunches, pan-fry salmon patties and burgers for dinner, flake some plain salmon on top of a green salad, add to pasta or grain bowls, and so much more.

Diane Morgan, a James Beard Award-winning author whose many cookbooks include two on salmon, offers up a myriad of ways to use good-quality canned salmon. If fresh salmon isn’t available, she suggests using canned in pot pies, chowders, risotto, or even as a taco filling. "It also works well, if not better, as salmon salad in a sandwich," she says, "made like you would tuna fish salad with mayonnaise, hard-boiled eggs, and celery. Canned salmon is a safer choice than tuna because there is no concern about mercury in salmon."

We've compiled this guide by taste-testing at home to help you decipher canned salmon labels and select the best salmon for your needs. Grab your grocery list and plan to add a few cans to your pantry on your next shopping trip.

Here, the best canned salmon.

Best Overall

Wild Planet Wild Sockeye Salmon, Skinless & Boneless

Wild Planet Wild Sockeye Salmon, Skinless & Boneless

Amazon

What We Like
  • Fish caught sustainably

  • Very flavorful

  • Pop-top lids

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

  • Not available in sizes larger than 6-ounces

Several species of salmon are available in cans. Of the two most popular varieties, sockeye and pink, sockeye has a more appealing orange-red color, so it’s our first choice, even though pink is less expensive. 

Wild Planet catches sockeye salmon in Alaskan waters with methods that limit the bycatch of other species, which helps prevent overfishing. The company sources fish from small-scale fisheries that follow sustainable practices. The company is particularly transparent about its sourcing, mission, and explaining why they make the choices they do.

Fans of the brand like that this canned sockeye salmon is wild-caught and flavorful right out of the can. The 6-ounce cans with pop-top lids are easy to open and portioned for use in meals. It makes great salmon patties, chowders, and casseroles.

Wild Planet salmon and other canned seafood products are widely available at major grocery chains. You can also buy it in cases of 12, which helps bring the cost per can down.

Price at time of publish: $6.59 per can

Serving Size: 3 ounces | Protein: 17 grams | Sodium: 220 grams | Type: Sockeye | Origin: Alaska

What Our Experts Say

"Canned fish provides convenience and cost advantages over fresh fish while delivering the same nutritional benefits, including abundant protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids." — Shannon Daily, Marketing Director of Wild Planet

Best Pouched

Safe Catch Skinless and Boneless Wild Pacific Pink Salmon Pouch, Italian Herb Seasoned

Safe Catch Skinless and Boneless Wild Pacific Pink Salmon Pouch, Italian Herb Seasoned

Amazon

What We Like
  • Pre-seasoned so no need to add your own

  • Affordably priced


What We Don't Like
  • Specific flavor profile may not pair with other foods


Although canned salmon is already a rather convenient ingredient to work with, pouched salmon is even more convenient in its portability (and no can-opener is needed). Safe Catch offers its salmon in these ready-to-go pouches, and has several seasoned options, including this Italian Herb variety (others include Citrus Dill, Rosemary Dijon, and a variety pack).

In addition to the main ingredient—salmon—this package includes sea salt, oregano, basil, fennel, onion, garlic, chili pepper, and more, so this is not just your average salmon. You’re welcome to dress it up further, but with all these flavors already included, this salmon is ready to eat right out of the package.

Price at time of publish: $2.79 per pouch

Serving size: 2.6 ounces | Protein: 18 grams | Sodium: 220 milligrams | Type: Pink salmon | Origin: Alaska Salmon Fishery/Northern Pacific Ocean

What Our Experts Say

"The production of our salmon products is hand-crafted just like our tuna products. Each fish is handled with care, hand-cut and canned and then cooked just once to retain all nutritional benefits." —Shannon Daily, Marketing Director of Wild Planet

Best Skinless

Safe Catch Wild Pacific Pink Salmon, 5-Ounce

Safe Catch Wild Pacific Pink Salmon

Lucky Vitamin

What We Like
  • No salt or fillers added

  • Fresh flavor out of the can

  • Hearty, chunky texture

What We Don't Like
  • May be too bland for some

Safe Catch has no BPAs in the can material, no fillers or additives, no GMO-soy broth, and no precook processing.

According to the website, the fish are skinless and boneless, sustainably caught by MSC-certified fisheries in Alaska, and canning is done at a facility in Thailand. After taste-testing, we give this canned salmon high marks for its fresh, high-quality flavor right out of the can, and we like that it comes in large chunks.

Price at time of publish: $3.79 per can

Serving Size: 2 ounces | Protein: 14 grams | Sodium: 50 grams | Type: Pink | Origin: Northern Pacific Ocean

Best with Bones/Skin

Pure Alaska Salmon Think Pink Wild Alaska Pink Salmon Traditional Pack, 7.5-Ounce, Pack of 12

Pure Alaska Salmon Think Pink Wild Alaska Pink Salmon Traditional Pack, 7.5-Ounce, Pack of 12

Amazon

What We Like
  • 100 percent wild-caught

  • Contains skin and bones

  • Great flavor and texture

What We Don't Like
  • Some may not like soft bones

Pure Alaska caught our attention because it processes fish within hours of catching it, and the traditional pink salmon has a fair price for its quality. The company won a Good Food Award in 2018 for its sustainable practices. 

Pink salmon resembles albacore tuna in both texture and taste. It flakes into smaller pieces and cooks up tan or grey in color. Pure Alaska processes their pink salmon in the traditional manner: cut into steaks with bones and skin still on the pieces.

Bone-in canned salmon is an acquired taste, since the crumbled bones can add a bit of grittiness to the texture. Pure Alaska’s website, which tells the story of the fishing family who has owned the company for decades, encourages consumers to "be brave and embrace those skin and bones."

Price at time of publish: $5.21 per can

Serving Size: 0.25 cup | Protein: 14 grams | Sodium: 230 grams | Type: Pink | Origin: Alaska

Best Budget

Bumble Bee Pink Salmon, 14.75-Ounce

Bumble Bee Pink Salmon, 14.75-Ounce

Instacart

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Skin and bones offer extra flavor

  • Hearty texture

What We Don't Like
  • Unclear whether fish is packed in water or natural juices

  • Some may not like the texture of bone-in, skin-on fish

Bumble Bee offers larger cans of bone-in, skin-on wild Alaskan pink salmon at an affordable price, making it a good option for families and larger households with a grocery budget.

Although the quality is a step down from some of the premium seafood brands, this salmon still packs extra flavor since it contains the skin and bones. The salmon is packed in a considerable amount of liquid and it's unclear whether it's water or natural juices.

This brand edged out its bargain competition because the website outlines the mechanized canning process and the cans are coded with a Trace My Catch feature. However, using the code was tricky; the website says to use all the numbers, but we succeeded only when eliminating some numbers.

Our can listed "the Alaska Salmon fishery" as the source of the salmon. It was caught by a purse seiner fishing vessel, and then shipped to a cannery in Thailand after initial processing. Since the cannery itself is located in Thailand, a "Product of Thailand" label is on the can, even though the fish are caught in Alaska.

Price at time of publish: $4.13 per can

Serving Size: 0.25 cup | Protein: 13 grams | Sodium: 270 grams | Type: Pink | Origin: Alaska

Best Salt/Oil-Free

Wild Planet Wild Pink Salmon, No Salt Added

Wild Planet Wild Pink Salmon

Amazon

What We Like
  • Low in sodium from no added salt


  • Low in fat from no added oil


  • Affordably priced


What We Don't Like
  • May need more flavoring agents upon cooking/meal prep to make up for no added salt


For those watching their sodium intake, Wild Planet offers a No Salt Added variety that only has 55 milligrams of sodium per serving, and it is not packed in oil. There’s no need to drain the can, as "the all-natural flavorful juices only add to the exquisite flavor of the fresh Alaskan salmon," according to the company. In addition to having very minimal sodium, this salmon contains 18 grams of protein, 524 milligrams of EPA & DHA Omega 3s, and 50 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin D (in a 3-ounce serving)—a nutritional powerhouse. Whether you’re making salmon cakes, salad, or something else entirely, you will be in control of the salt and don’t need to worry about compensating for a salty ingredient. 

And in terms of the environment, you can rest assured that Wild Planet’s practices are entirely eco-friendly: "We only partner with small-scale fisheries and community fishermen who share our mission of working to protect our planet’s most beautiful resource. These partnerships bring economic benefit to coastal communities around the world…there is only one wild planet, and our efforts are the most sustainable to ensure our resources are available for future generations," says Shannon Daily, Marketing Director of Wild Planet.

Price at time of publish: $4.29 per can

Serving size: 2 ounces | Protein: 12 grams | Sodium: 55 milligrams | Type: Wild pink salmon | Origin: Alaska

Best Smoked

Wildfish Cannery Smoked White King Salmon

Wildfish Cannery Smoked Salmon

Amazon

What We Like
  • Harder-to-find species of salmon

  • Short ingredient list

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive


This unique, "highly sought-after" white king salmon stands out as a particularly special canned option, as this specific type of salmon "represents a mere five percent of the total king salmon population in Alaska," according to the company’s website. The fish itself is white, but otherwise, it is the same as the more commonly-seen pink-fleshed salmon; as explained on the company’s website, "While all that separates a white King from the red is its inability to process pigments, its rarity sets it apart." 

Sourced from southeast Alaska and troll-caught, this salmon needs very little to produce a stellar canned product; the only ingredients are salmon, salt, pure cane sugar, garlic, black pepper, and all-natural wood smoke. As far as canned salmon goes, this is definitely a splurge, but for a special occasion, this is the "ultimate and accessible crowd-pleaser" that’s worthy of showing off "as the centerpiece on your charcuterie or conserva platter," per the company’s website.

Price at time of publish: $20.99 per can

Serving size: 2 ounces | Protein: 12 grams | Sodium: 360 milligrams | Type: King Salmon | Origin: Alaska

Best Indigenous-Owned

Salmon King Fisheries

Salmon King Fisheries
What We Like
  • Supporting Indigenous-operated business and long-standing tribal history


  • Minimal salt added


  • Large chunks/filets (not small flakey pieces)


What We Don't Like
  • On the pricey side


Owned and operated by Natives Sean and Brigette McConville, Salmon King Fisheries, established in 2011, is a "commercial, retail, and wholesale fishery that sells tribally harvested salmon." The McConvilles are members of The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon, and The Nez Perce Tribe.

According to their website, "Fish caught from the Columbia River are an important piece of tribal history, connecting all past and present generations. Salmon were routinely sold to and traded with neighboring tribes, settlers and explorers." Salmon King Fisheries offers 25 different products, and their canned fish uses their own recipe with minimal salt. Pricing is $10.00 per 6.5-ounce can of salmon (sockeye or coho). In addition to canned items, they also offer vacuum packs, glass jars, and frozen filets. 

Price at time of publish: $10.00 per can

Serving size: 6.5 ounces  | Protein: nutritional information not provided | Sodium: nutritional information not provided | Type: Sockeye/coho | Origin: Oregon

Final Verdict

Our top choice is the Wild Planet Wild Sockeye Salmon because it packs a lot of clean flavor right out of the can. Plus, the company is transparent about its sustainable practices. If you want to take the flavor of pink salmon on the go, try the Wildfish Cannery Smoked White King Salmon cans.

What to Look For When Buying Canned Salmon

Wild-Caught vs. Farmed

Check the label to see whether the salmon is wild-caught or farmed. Wild Alaskan salmon is caught from the Alaskan salmon fishery, one of the most regulated and sustainable fisheries in the world. The Alaskan salmon fishery is 100 percent wild-caught and certified by the Marine Stewardship Council, which determines guidelines for sustainability, so it’s always a good bet to choose a product that contains all Alaskan salmon.

Types of Salmon

The two types of wild salmon are pink and sockeye. Pink salmon is the smallest species and is found in the Arctic and Pacific waters. Sockeye is often called "red salmon" due to its deeper hue. It has a higher fat content and is more flavorful than pink salmon.

FAQs

Is canned salmon cooked? 

Canned salmon is cooked in the can during processing. After cleaning and filleting the fresh fish, cannery workers pack raw pieces into each can, which is then sealed and processed in large steam pressure retorts at extremely high heat to kill any toxins.

What is the difference between red salmon and pink salmon? 

Salmon comes in a beautiful array of colors from light pink to vivid orange-red, depending on the species. Red salmon usually refers to sockeye, which has a rich taste and a denser texture than other salmon species. Pink salmon (sometimes called humpback salmon due to its transformation during spawning) is the most plentiful and smallest of the Pacific salmon species, and is most often used in commercial canning. Its pink flesh turns greyish when cooked, and its mild flavor resembles tuna. 

What can you do with canned salmon? 

Use salmon as you would canned tuna in everything from sandwiches to salads. Salads get a big protein boost when you flake salmon on top. And for a great meatless dinner, try frying up salmon burgers bound together with a little mayo, breadcrumbs, and egg. You can get creative with it, too. Use it in pot pies, chowders, risotto, tacos, and more.


How long can canned salmon stay in the refrigerator? 

The USDA recommends that low-acid foods like fish and meat are safe to store in the refrigerator up to four days. Though keeping salmon in a can in the fridge is perfectly safe, the flavor will improve if you store it in a glass container with an air-tight lid. As for the cans in the pantry, plan to discard them five years from the manufacturing date.

Why Trust The Spruce Eats?

Food educator Jennifer Burns Bright teaches and writes about Pacific seafood. She packs up her own tuna and salmon on the Oregon Coast, so she knows what to look for in good canned fish. After much research, she ordered and personally taste-tested each of the options on the list (except for the St. Jeans Canned Wild Sockeye in Canada, which she wanted to include as a heritage sourcing option). For additional research, she interviewed Diane Morgan, a James Beard Award-winning author, who's written two cookbooks on salmon.

The Spruce Eats writer Alyssa Langer is a registered dietitian and foodie, always curious about the next food or ingredient craze and hungry to learn and try more. Having worked in cookbook publishing, CPG label data, nutrition writing, and meal kits, her diverse background and varied interests provide a unique perspective that fosters clear, well-researched, and trustworthy reviews.

This roundup was updated by Sharon Lehman, a home cook and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who knows her way around grocery aisles. She specializes in small kitchen appliance testing and reviews and has written roundups on the best crackers and beef jerky for The Spruce Eats.

Amanda McDonald is an editor at The Spruce Eats and has over seven years of experience researching, writing, and editing about all things food — from what new products are at the grocery store to chef-approved hacks that keep tricky leftovers fresh for days. She updated this article to include the most up-to-date information.

Sources

  • Diane Morgan, a James Beard Award-winning author of cookbooks like Roots: The Definitive Compendium, Salmon: Everything You Need to Know, and more
  • Shannon Daily, Marketing Director of Wild Planet
Updated by
Sharon Lehman, RDN
Sharon Lehman
Sharon Lehman is a freelance writer and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist specializing in food, health, and wellness topics. She is the Small Appliance Expert for The Spruce Eats.
Learn about The Spruce Eats' Editorial Process
and
Amanda McDonald
Amanda McDonald
Amanda McDonald is a journalist living in New York City and Commerce Updates Editor for The Spruce Eats. She has written and edited health, wellness, food, and fitness content as well as recipes for multiple publications.
Learn about The Spruce Eats' Editorial Process
Article Sources
The Spruce Eats uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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